Teaching Students to Analyze Imagery in 'Of Mice and Men'
In the Beginning...
I taught the elements of literature to my high school English students. I just knew they were all going to get A's on the quiz. Everybody got D's and F's. In despair, I welded a desk to my Oldsmobile and rammed it into my college professor's office as punishment for not teaching imagery very well. The impact knocked me out.
I woke up in my classroom with Helen Keller standing above me. "You must begin teaching imagery in context," she signed, "Teaching imagery must be done with literature. I recommend making it part of your Of Mice and Men lesson plans." She elbowed me in the face and knocked me out again. When I awoke, I found Of Mice and Men lesson plans on my desk.
Here's the one on analyzing imagery.
Objectives for Analyzing Imagery
Having a clear idea what you want students to learn will help remove the assignment from abstract concepts to concrete skills:
- Students will define and discuss imagery.
- Imagery is the ability to use words to portray a picture using the five senses.
- Students will identify 20 examples of imagery in chapter 1.
- Students will explain the significance of particular images in chapter 1.
- Students will apply the writing process to write a literary analysis paper.
- Students will use citations from chapter 1 as evidence.
- Students will cite passages in MLA format.
- Students will analyze author's purpose.
- There are four imagery loaded passages in chapter one: page 1, the last paragraph on page 7, the middle paragraph on page 10, and page 16.
- There are five recurring images on these pages: trees and leaves, sun and light, water, animals, sound.
- Make a chart for each recurring image.
- There should be five rows and 2 columns.
- On the top row write the recurring image (trees/leaves, for example) in the left column. Write quotation in the right hand column.
- Write the page number of the passage you want students to analyze in each row of the left column.
- Leave the right column blank. That's where students write the exact images.
- Write a paragraph analyzing the imagery in chapter one. Do not write a separate paragraph for each image. Write about all images together. The paragraph can be a timed writing assignment or a formal essay.
- Make a broad statement about imagery in chapter 1 for the topic sentence.
- Use specific examples for supporting details. Cite them correctly.
- Discuss author's purpose and how imagery affects the theme.
- Consider the following questions:
- How do images change as the chapter progresses? What does that symbolize?
- What might image repetition mean?
- Is there a pattern between the beginning and ending images of chapter one?
- How does water interact with nature? with man?
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